By Fauxile Kibet
Kenya now plans to close one of the world’s largest refugee camps which hosts over 230000 people in the coming months according to a document by the United Nations.
According to the report by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the camp which largely hosts Somali refugees could be closed by August if the plan by the East African country goes through, AFP reports.
The document says that Kenya had sent a note to the UNHCR asking it to initiate the relocation process for the refugees. The Refugee agency in response said that it was willing to work with Kenya to facilitate voluntary repatriation of the refugees to their countries of origin.
Plans are also in place to relocate the refugees to third host countries and also other parts of Kenya where they can be hosted.
A vast majority of the refugees living in Dadaab fled Somalia following the outbreak of war in 1991 and have since lived in the refugee camp. In 2016, Kenya announced that it would close down the camp on claims that the Al-Shabaab terror group were using it as a training ground and planning attacks within Kenyan borders.
Tens of thousands have however returned to Somalia under a repatriation programme between the United Nations and Kenya but were faced with challenges such as drought, hunger and the ongoing war against the Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia.
The Kenyan government have continuously used frequent attacks in Kenya as a basis of convening the UNHCR to close Dadaab even though a Kenyan court ruled that it was unconstitutional to close the refugee camp.
In February 2017 Kenya’s High Court ruled the plan to close the camp was unconstitutional, violated Kenya’s international obligations and amounted to the persecution of refugees.